"The most important decision a gardener can make is choosing a plant that will thrive in the particular conditions of a particular microclimate," Anne Weinberger said when we first discussed her blog.
"For example, a hot, sunny spot on a steep slope could use a plant that needs very little water, can tolerate heat and has roots that will stabilize the slope.
"And, of course, the greater 'place' that is Piedmont is in California — not England, as so many gardeners like to envision. We live in a dry climate that demands water-consciousness (and there are new state regulations that require landscape designers calculate each plant's water use when designing new gardens!).
"This column will open up people's minds to the enormous selection of beautiful low-water plants that are so much more interesting than ho-hum clipped boxwoods, camellias and ivy."
As a certified Bay-Friendly Landscape Professional, a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, Anne is well-equipped to introduce other Piedmont gardeners to problem-solving plants. She's also a passionate vegetable gardener and cook who enjoys incorporating edibles into her gardens.
She's happy to address readers' particular concerns, so leave a comment on her blog if you have a problem spot in your garden that could use some fresh ideas.
Anne says she strives to create people-friendly outdoor spaces with minimal water and maintenance needs that are as stylish as they are sustainable.
She also started an edible garden at her son’s elementary school (Wildwood) five years ago. "Since it took a hiatus while the kids were in Emeryville, we're starting all over again this year," she notes.
Anne holds a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from U.C. Berkeley and a landscape design and construction specialist certificate from Merritt College.
She has also been a writer and publicist in the San Francisco Bay Area since the mid-1980s. She has worked on staff at several public relations firms and as an independent consultant. As a freelance journalist, she has written for publications including the San Jose Mercury News, the San Francisco Examiner and Backpacker magazine.
In the public relations field, Anne has represented dining establishments such as One Market Restaurant, The Lark Creek Inn, Absinthe and Restaurant LuLu and wineries that include Wente Vineyards, Gundlach Bundschu and Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves.
She has helped promote art and wine festivals throughout the Bay Area, including the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival and Menlo Park’s Connoisseurs’ Marketplace, and has helped publicize for environmental organizations on the San Mateo coast.
Previously, Anne worked for several years in the publishing industry as an editor in the foreign-language textbook division of Random House in San Francisco. She was also a bed-and-breakfast reviewer for Fodor’s Travel Publications and a translator of the French travel guide publisher Gault Millau’s The Best of France.
Read Anne's first blog post here.